Where are you based?
Initially I was based out of my garage in Gosforth, but have recently expanded to a studio in Sandyford called The Biscuit Tin studios.
Tell us about your background.
Since my early years I was always interested in creating things (making a mess, as my parents call it). It started from an early age with Airfix models, Lego and Meccano, and eventually led me to study design at university. I recently graduated from Northumbria University, after studying 3D Design. The course offered a great deal of design freedom, and I went down the furniture design route; making my first chair, table and cabinet.
How did you start TheCopperWorks?
TheCopperWorks started while I was at university. As a keen guitar player, I was looking to develop my skills by playing different styles of music. There was a certain song that required a guitar slide – this is simply a tube that slips onto your finger and completely changes the sound of the guitar. I was in the attic, and I discovered some unused copper pipe from the old water tank and decided to cut some out and use it as a slide. As I had the urge to create things at home, but had no machinery, I started making things out of the redundant copper pipe, and TheCopperWorks was born.
How has your work developed?
Over the last couple of years, I have grown TheCopperWorks and now have a range of products for the home and business. I now work full time developing new products, and I’m working towards building a workshop where I can create handmade furniture too.
Where do you source your materials?
Initially, I tried to use reclaimed copper pipes, however that proved very difficult so I now source my materials at various local hardware stores.
Where do you find inspiration?
I think that inspiration comes from learning new techniques, seeing new things and always having design in the back of your mind. I have found that I am most creative when I am relaxed and listening to my favourite music – most often Fleetwood Mac and Queen.
Tell us about how you make your products.
Designing is the first step, which comes with its own challenges as copper pipe has limitations such as how much weight it can hold and the forms it can take. When designing, I usually prototype using the actual copper – I find this easier to visualise with the different types of fittings, rather than sketching out a design. Once each piece of pipe is cut by hand with a tube cutter, it is joined together using a strong epoxy resin. I use this instead of traditional solder as it results in a much cleaner joint. Finally, each piece is hand polished before being either left in a natural finish, or sealed with a spray lacquer to prevent it from gaining a patina over time.
Do you have a favourite creation?
It has to be the wall-mounted vinyl holder, as you can create a little showcase of your favourite records which invites people to flick through and never fails to spark conversation.
What are you currently working on?
At the moment, I am working on learning as much as I can and building up my workshop to be able to produce handmade wooden products and furniture: this is my goal for the next five years. I am excited to start turning all of my ideas into reality, and I hope in the next couple of years to return to Living North, having learnt a lot, and with a range of exciting new creations.